Yesterday was a funny old day. Packed with good stuff - for instance, we baptised a young man in the evening and another young disciple spoke in tongues for the first time that same evening and seemed very touched. And yet, and yet... I found my heart heavy at various times.
Why? Because I'm looking for disciples. And for all that I do genuinely love to see the good things happening in various ones, there are few who seem ready to really embrace fully the challenge of living all-out as a disciple.
A wise brother and 'father' among us pointed out recently that we need to be able to call people to 'imitate us as we imitate Christ' just as Paul did. Which is a challenge: if they were to imitate me, what weaknesses would they inherit along with my strengths?
Nevertheless (and you can harangue me for saying this if you think it sounds horribly conceited) I reckon that if the people around me, in my household and church, did imitate me it would be a stronger household and church than it is now. The quest for disciples, I realise, is a quest for sons (and daughters): that is, for those who have inherited the same heart, the same passions, the same spiritual DNA that I have. I find myself praying that God will send people who will come to love Jesus and the vision of our Church as much as (or more than) I do.
Because otherwise it all starts to feel a bit like pushing boulders uphill (you know, there's something about a boulder that would much rather roll down the hill; but put your back into it and really strain and you might just get it to the top - but don't let go or... it's back at the bottom of the hill again!)
Don't get me wrong. Making disciples is about patience and people take time to work things through (particularly hurting youngsters from mixed-up backgrounds). I know this. (Please don't all leave comments reminding me.) But I'm still going to ask God for disciples who want to learn, who want to give - and, yes, who want to imitate me as I imitate Him.